Starring: Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane
Director: Orson Welles
Running Time: 87 mins
The Lady From Shanghai is an American film about an Irish man who meets a mysterious woman, who leads him onto a mysterious cruise where he soon discovers a web of deceit and murder.
This may have all the vibe of a classic film-noir, but it doesn’t quite live up to the legendary stature of the genre. Whilst The Lady From Shanghai is an undoubtedly entertaining and mysterious movie, its story never delivers the complex unpredictability of a really great crime thriller, and that’s where this falls short.
However, as always, let’s start with he positives, which mostly comes from Orson Welles’ direction. As I said, the film dos have the distinct air of a film-noir about it, from the opening scene with Welles’ narration kicking the story off, to the inevitably breathless and intense final sequence.
And that’s where I got most of the enjoyability out of this film, as we see our main man nervously fall into a mysterious world of murder and deceit, with a consistently uneasy atmosphere lurking in the background.
The best part of the whole film comes in the very final scene, where Welles goes for a distinctly unique take on the final reveal and face-off, setting the scene in a hall of mirrors, and using that to make it feel all the more edgy, and add a little more suspense to it all.
Unfortunately, however, that’s necessary, because the thrill value of The Lady From Shanghai isn’t so great. There are a few twists, but it’s pretty easy to see them coming, and the fact that we spend almost a full half hour waiting for the actual crime story to kick into action means that this isn’t the most exciting film.
Quite simply, despite my love for the style of the movie, I was never so engrossed in or excited by the story because it wasn’t unpredictable enough, and Welles’ directorial efforts couldn’t do anything to right that, so that’s why I’m giving The Lady From Shanghai a 7.1.